From “Abandonment to Divine Providence”, by Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ:
The soul that does not attach itself solely to the will of God will find neither satisfaction nor sanctification in any other means however excellent by which it may attempt to gain them.
If that which God Himself chooses for you does not content you, from whom do you expect to obtain what you desire? If you are disgusted with the meat prepared for you by the divine will itself, what food would not be insipid to so depraved a taste? No soul can be really nourished, fortified, purified, enriched, and sanctified except in fulfilling the duties of the present moment. What more would you have? As in this you can find all good, why seek it elsewhere? Do you know better than God? As he ordains it thus why do you desire it differently? Can His wisdom and goodness be deceived? When you find something to be in accordance with this divine wisdom and goodness ought you not to conclude that it must needs be excellent? Do you imagine you will find peace in resisting the Almighty? Is it not, on the contrary, this resistance which we too often continue without owning it even to ourselves which is the cause of all our troubles?
It is only just, therefore, that the soul that is dissatisfied with the divine action for each present moment should be punished by being unable to find happiness in anything else. If books, the example of the saints, and spiritual conversations deprive the soul of peace; if they fill the mind without satisfying it; it is a sign that one has strayed from the path of pure abandonment to the divine action, and that one is only seeking to please oneself. To be employed in this way is to prevent God from finding an entrance. All this must be got rid of because of being an obstacle to grace.
But if the divine will ordains the use of these things the soul may receive them like the rest-that is to say-as the means ordained by God which it accepts simply to use, and leaves afterwards when their moment has passed for the duties of the moment that follows. There is, in fact, nothing really good that does not emanate from the ordinance of God, and nothing, however good in itself, can be better adapted for the sanctification of the soul and the attainment of peace.
Somewhere in the avalanche of articles and blog posts about The Big Interview, a writer I don’t remember chose to emphasize this passage:
“The dicasteries of the Roman Curia are at the service of the pope and the bishops,” he says. “They must help both the particular churches and the bishops’ conferences. They are instruments of help. In some cases, however, when they are not functioning well, they run the risk of becoming institutions of censorship. It is amazing to see the denunciations for lack of orthodoxy that come to Rome. I think the cases should be investigated by the local bishops’ conferences, which can get valuable assistance from Rome. These cases, in fact, are much better dealt with locally. The Roman congregations are mediators; they are not middlemen or managers.”
Indeed, this is an astonishing statement. These appeals go to Rome, presumably, because the bishops are already unresponsive. Often enough the bishops themselves are enabling and even promulgating the “lack of orthodoxy” (i.e., heresy). And now he wants turn these cases back over to the bishops? What is this but a total abdication of Rome’s responsibility to guard the deposit of Faith? Tragically and inexplicably, Pope Francis is more worried about “censorship” than heresy.
For decades now, the only thing that kept many Catholics going in chronically bad parishes was the knowledge that, at least, there was pope in Rome who “had their backs”. Well, they’ve just been cut loose. We’ve all been cut loose. Pope Francis is right about one thing: we’re all going to need to learn “new ways” of being Catholic under this pontificate.
By now many of you have undoubtedly been following this fascinating story. Forgive me for referring to numerous other media reports but not linking to them.
No, this isn’t Spirit Daily, but I do love a good mystery. It’s certainly possible that the “mystery priest” is alive and that his presence on the scene has a perfectly natural explanation. But if his appearance was miraculous, then I have a favorite candidate whom I think should be considered.
First, we have this composite sketch derived from some eyewitnesses at the scene:
However, the deputy sheriff who spoke with the priest, shook his hand, and observed him for 20 minutes says the composite looks nothing like him.
Rather, the priest is described n various reports as an older man, with an olive complexion, a thick accent, and wearing contemporary clerical attire (i.e., black pants, a black clerical shirt, and a white clerical collar) with dark rimmed glasses. He was seen to be wearing an older-looking silver cross around his neck, and to be praying an old wooden rosary. If this was the appearance of a saint, due to his attire he seems likely to be a late-20th century priest – not a monk, and not a bishop.
Another witness described the priest as looking like the late actor Walter Matthau, and Deputy Richard Adair admits the resemblance:
The man who comes to mind is Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, a Basque-born priest who served in the Diocese of Los Angeles and died in 1981. He was known to work miracles, and there is a movement asking the Church to open an inquiry into his possible beatification. Here’s one account of some of his miracles:
Several miracles are attributed to this Claretian priest. Holding a great compassion for the sick, Father Aloysius prayed for example for Cardinal Rigali’s own mother, who had cancer several decades ago who then recovered following treatment.
Anthony Riaza of Murrieta, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5, and given only three months to live.
After Father Aloysius and his guilds prayed “non-stop” for Riaza and the priest offered Masses to him, the boy and his family were told by a baffled doctor following two weeks of tests that he could leave the hospital.
In another incident, Riaza’s mother broke and paralyzed her hand in a freak accident and reluctantly asked the priest for his prayers.
“Right in front of our eyes she got almost complete movement back in her hand and she couldn’t stop crying from happiness,” Riaza wrote in the affidavit.
Kenneth M. Fisher of Anaheim recalls seeing his late nephew’s “crooked arm” straighten before his very eyes while the teen was being blessed by Father Aloysius in Fountain Valley.
He also recalls seeing an elderly woman fall backward during a pilgrimage in Italy in the late 1960′s or early 1970′s and hit her head on the edge of the cement step after the group had visited another mystic there.
“I thought, Oh my God, she’s very seriously injured or dead”. But after Father Aloysius and the other mystic blessed her, “she came to, got up and continued with the rest of us on the pilgrimage. She never even had a headache.”
Those who knew Father Aloysius personally describe him as a humble man with a quiet intensity who always credited God for his many gifts.
Furthermore, I think his image best fits the descriptions we have thus far:
The undisputed king and master of tear-jerking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, soul-aching American country music has passed into eternity. I grew up with his music. You might say he helped prepare me for the real world. He was a public sinner, but a humble one by all accounts. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.
We were privileged to visit Thomas Aquinas College again this month. I attended one philosophy class and two theology seminars, and left greatly impressed with the participating students. One of the children remarked that TAC feels more like “home” than home, and I can definitely see the point. Here are some photos taken by a family friend who accompanied us:
When I left home at age 17, I almost lived the libertarian fantasy: with no favors, no preferences, no connections, and on the sheer force of a naked resume and a youthful smile, I knocked on doors in the industrial parks of Sacramento until a total stranger agreed to hire me for minimum wage.
I say “almost” because I was nevertheless surviving on the goodwill of relatives, who provided room and board for me while I “made it on my own”. I went to work for a family owned business, even though I wasn’t a family member.
It has long been my dream to be in a position to provide employment for my own children should they ever be in need. The older I get, the more unlikely it seems this dream will ever come to pass. Chances are, my children will have to “make it on their own” too. Increasingly our economy is leaving the young behind.
” … I wonder how much kids are suffering from the absence of a father who can prevail on personal or business connections to help them find that first job, begin an apprenticeship, or begin a career. Moms can do those things too, of course, but there’s no doubt that the single-parent family leaves kids with one less parent to open doors for them. And those parents are often younger, and working less stable, shorter-term jobs. The connections needed to give their children a hand into the job market are less common than they used to be. A powerful, subtle network that once helped young people interface with the job market has gone offline.”
Indeed. At age 46 – technically a member of “Generation X” – I belong to a transitional generation in which, for some, personal and familial connections still mattered, but for many, the expectation was one of total independence. Radical individualism. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Etc. By the 1980s employment by means of family connections, for example, was widely considered to be “nepotism”. A man working for his father’s business was thought to have been given an unfair advantage, at the expense of workers who may be better qualified.
Fast forward to 2013, and that mentality is thoroughly entrenched. We live in a militant meritocracy – in theory, at least, unless one is in possession of ideological entitlements (e.g., one is female, non-white, a disabled veteran, or homosexual). But if you don’t win the meritocracy contest, and if you aren’t entitled to decent employment for ideological reasons, then it’s tough going these days. Especially for the young. The unemployment rate for young people ages 16-24 exceeds 50 percent.
Insofar as we are to preserve a remnant of Christian civilization in the dark days ahead, we will need to get back to the practice of taking care of our own. Parents who are capable should make every effort to secure employment for their children, meritocracy be damned.
It’s hard to imagine a better argument against women’s “ordination” than this astonishingly clueless video.
I’ve always been fascinated with places and their histories, and lately I’ve been on a Louisiana kick. Devouring all things Louisiana. Especially Lafayette and “Acadiana” – the heavily Catholic southern region of the state from Baton Rouge to the Texas border. Louisianans are a friendly, helpful people, and one native has provided the following tips for visitors:
For the official record, nobody who is genuinely from Louisiana puts an apostrophe between y and all. There is nobody real in Louisiana who says ya all.
We say YALL. One word, one syllable, no missing letters, no punctuation. Yall. If you stutter after Y and before A everyone will know you’re a transplant.
A few tips about the crawdad state…
Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.
There are 5,000 types of snakes, and 4,998 live in Louisiana.
There are 10,000 types of spiders, and all 10,000 live in Louisiana, plus a couple no one’s seen before.
Possums will eat anything.
Armadillos love to dig holes under tomato plants.
Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they are ripe.
If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites.
A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.
“Onced” and “twiced” are words.
It is not a shopping cart, it is a buggy.
Fire ants consider your flesh as a picnic.
People actually grow and eat okra.
“Fixinto” is one word.
A tank is a hole in the ground to hold water for irrigation, for watterin’ the cows, for swimming, or for a weekly bath.
There ain’t no such thing as “lunch.” There’s only dinner and then there’s supper.
Coffee is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you’re 2.
All tea is always iced. All coffee is always hot. If you serve us hot tea or iced coffee, expect to scrap.
“Backwards and forwards” means I know everything about you.
“Jeet?” is actually a phrase meaning “Did you eat?”
You don’t have to wear a watch because it doesn’t matter what time it is. You work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see.
Darn near everyone knows 5 or more cloud types. (Guess they got to be look’n out for them ternayders–translation: tornadoes.)
You know you’re from LOUISIANA if . . .
1. You measure distance in minutes.
2. You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
3. Stores don’t have bags, they have sacks.
4. You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it, no matter what time of the year.
5. You use “fix” as a verb. Example: I am fixing to go to the store.
6. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
6A. You’ve lived in Louisiana your whole life and still didn’t know Mardi Gras wasn’t a national holiday.
7. You install security lights on your house and garage, but leave the place unlocked.
8. You carry jumper cables in your car . . . for your OWN car.
9. You know what “cow tipping” is.
10. You only own four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco.
11. The local paper covers national and international news on one page, but requires 6 pages for local gossip and sports.
12. You think the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
13. You find 100 degrees F “a little warm.”
14. You know all four seasons: Almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.
15. Going to Wal-Mart is a favorite past-time known as “goin wal-martin” or off to “Wally World.”
16. You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good chili weather.
17. A carbonated soft drink isn’t a soda, cola, or pop . . . it’s a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: “What kinda coke you want?”
18. You understand these jokes and share them with your friends from Louisiana.
Today I drove to San Francisco – 3.5 hours each way – for a meeting I should have conducted over the telephone. Live and learn. I’m always impressed by “the City”, as many call SF. Despite it’s well-deserved notoriety, it’s still a world class city that once was supremely Catholic and still lives in the shadow of the Church. Driving through the old Irish district was a feast for the eyes. Anyway, SF being SF, my potential client was a sweet lady who belongs to the Unitarian Universalist Church, which I am told expends a great deal of effort “ministering to animals”. I met her dog, rescued from Hurricane Katrina, and sat in an office surrounded by pictures of various non-human ministerial prospects. This reminded me of a former employer (also female) who was a radical animal rights activist (they all seem to be female). She wouldn’t tolerate the slightest affront to the “dignity” of animals, but she also believed that the virtual extinction of the human race was something to strive for. Literally.
Our “new” home in Chico was originally built in 1950, underwent some remodeling and expansion over the years, and was partially rebuilt after a fire in 2005. The house is sort of cobbled together in a very amateur way. There are odd steps from one room to the next, light switches that don’t make a lot of sense, a luxurious Roman tub that is completely out of character for the place, and dozens of other eccentricities. I like that.
We’ve had contractors here for three weeks repairing doors, ceilings, walls, floors, electrical abnormalities, and so forth. I think we’re finally coming to the end of it. The plan was to turn a three-unit structure into a two unit structure, the second unit being upstairs, and to make the house minimally functional for a semi-large home schooling family. Now that our bookshelves and family altar have been re-installed, it’s really starting to feel like home. We transported 65 boxes of books in a borrowed horse trailer. They are mostly back on the shelves but still need organizing.
We just concluded our apricot harvest this week: 50 trees in all, full of mostly unblemished and tasty fruit. Yesterday, I delivered the final pickings to a Christian homeless shelter in town. At the time one of the staff was involved in a confrontation with a belligerent client, the latter of whom was being told to leave permanently. He wasn’t taking it well. Spewing profanities and making threatening gestures, the client appeared to be on the brink of violence. I don’t know if the staff member – a man in his late 30s or early 40s – was paid or was one of many volunteers, but it occurred to me that confrontations like this must be fairly common, and that homeless shelters need the services of able-bodied men who know how to handle things. I paused at the door of my truck before leaving, silently wondering if some back up might be necessary. It wasn’t.
My eldest son writes on his Google+ status: “Another amazing day, here at the Colloquium. Went for a long walk through the city tonight with a couple other young people, and said the rosary at a park on the way back. That was quite nice, albeit tiring. Salt Lake City is very scenic.” That put a smile on my face.
Yes, I was stunned by today’s SCOTUS decision, especially Roberts’ incomprehensible vote and bizarre rationale. More evidence, I suppose, that the Constitution is deader than dead. That’s unfortunate but hardly unexpected: the rule of law is always contingent upon the rule of just, wise, and competent men in the end. What was he thinking? Perhaps consistent originalism isn’t even possible anymore. Roberts is right about one thing, though: as he noted in his decision, the American people voted for the President and for the Congress responsible for this law. I would add that the American people also voted for the presidents who appointed the Supreme Court justices and the congressmen who approved them. The law is bad, and the Court’s decision was wrong, but the American people were wrong first. This is a democracy, right? Let’s take care to prioritize our outrage.